20 % OF TRADE SHOWS ARE WORTH 80% OF OUR ATTENTIION

In the area of participation at congress trade shows and exhibitions measuring of profitability is one of the eternal and always topical questions. To paraphrase one of the greatest experts on measuring the ROI of meetings and events dr. Elling Hamso it is a prerequisite for profitability, “exhibitors have to do something at the lowest possible cost,” to create and justify the added value of the trade show-exhibition appearance. Often this is not so and the exhibitors are betting all their expectations on organisers of trade shows, or they do not at all have clear expectations about the co-operation.

Despite the fact that there are a variety of methodologies and techniques of measurement, it all starts with the decision on the evaluation mode and decision of the stakeholders, the effects of which are the most important to organisers and exhibitors. As a rule, they can be divided into three effects:

1. Short-term selling is still the predominant criterion for the evaluation of return on investment of participation at a B2B event

2. Brand development and customer loyalty is another criterion with strong long-term effects. Only after several years of continuous implementation of the trade show from the perspective of the organisers or participation in terms of exhibitors brings tangible results.

3. Networking and influencing key stakeholders is also a long-term activity, which can greatly enhance the marketability of your brand.

These effects may be combined with the now legendary ROI pyramid, which greatly helps to understand and to also evaluate the ROI effects of trade shows and exhibitions.

roipyramid3000x2532px544kb Figure 1:         ROI pyramid, European Event ROI Institute

Measuring the effects is not as easy as it seems at a first glance. It is very difficult to assess whether on short-term sales affected the participation at the trade show, exhibition or some of the other activities in the area of consolidation of the brand or networking.

On the side of the participants it all starts with clear goals and expectations. If there are no goals, everything can be good. Setting of goals is in the first place, because only then can we measure what we have really achieved. Immediately after the event, the fundamental question is whether a participant has his or her own CRM system developed, that also over longer time period helps him/her to answer the question of where he established the first, second or key contact. Key criteria are certainly potential buyers or sales leads and cost per contact. Once you start evaluating the participation at trade shows from this perspective, it quickly shows that you save a lot of valuable time with trade shows.

On the side of the organisers of trade shows there is a fundamental difference between the organisers from public and private sector. The smaller the share of public funding of trade shows, the greater the concern for ROI of the trade show. Finally, for measuring the profitability of trade shows there are in place clear and accurate financial indicators. It is more difficult to measure the lower part of the pyramid. Despite the skeptics trade shows and exhibitions as part of direct marketing are still one of the most effective tools, as we can clearly define the objectives and can easiest measure them through for example, the number of meetings conducted, or the number of acquired business opportunities.

In the editorial board of Kongres magazine we have therefore analyzed several international trade shows and have conducted interviews with numerous participants and organizers of trade shows. On that basis, we are listing some advice and recommendations for more objective evaluation of the profitability of participation at trade shows and exhibitions.

1. Prior to participation at the trade show layout clearly defined marketing and sales objectives that should derive from your business goals. They should be defined quantifiably and in a time frame.
2. In addition to short-term goals we must be able to measure the long-term ones such as loyalty, awareness and brand loyalty.
3. Do not measure only the immediate response, take a look and evaluate a longer period of time.
4. After the trade show conduct a survey to check the response according to contact databases. With the survey responses you will find answers to the question of what effect your communication has had on those who did not respond and those with whom you have at the event established a business contact.
5. Follow indirect effects because participation at the trade show could cause an increase the sales through other channels, such as for example a positive PR in the trade show catalogue or other channels.
6. Measure your feedback at the trade show through contests and other marketing innovations.
7. Measure the effects of trade shows quantitatively (number of contacts with buyers) and qualitatively (one good contact can be worth more than 10 trivial ones)
8. Building a customer database and comparing the quality of contacts in individual trade shows is the key for the selection of good B2B events and poor ones and for implementation of after-sales activities.
9. A true gold mine are existing customers, that we can also meet at trade shows or we can take an advantage of trade show and invite them there for an appointment for consolidating relations.
10. Trade show ‘Pareto principle”: 20% of trade shows are worth 20% of our attention.

Customer attainment

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